tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN June 25, 2014 10:00am-12:01pm EDT
grandfather's property or the dry creek bed behind your house. that's what we're talking about. this could lead to untold compliance costs and bureaucratic wrangling for ordinary families and literally cripple farmers and businesses.e e.p.a. and army corps of engineers propose clean water act jurisdictional rules seeks to redefine waters of the united states which would effectively eliminate the clean water act provision. congress specifically did it to guarantee limits to federal authority. bodies of water currently deemed waters of the united states are subject to multiple regulatory requirements under the clean water act including permitting and reporting, enforcement and mitigation. despite opposition in congress, the e.p.a. and corps relentlessly pursued an
expansion of the definition of waters of the united states. additionally, the e.p.a. is pressing forward despite two recent supreme court cases that expressly rejected the agency's broadest definition of bodies of water and made it clear not all bodies of water are subject to definition under the act. few regulatory agencies will be able to escape the reach. this proposed new definition could apply to countless numbers of small wetlands and creeks that are typically regulated at the state level. more specifically, the proposed rule extends the reach of federal regulatory authority by adding interstate wetlands and all adjacent waters to the definition of waters of the united states. it also deems all tributaries to be categorically jurisdictional. and for the first time ever,
ditches -- ditches, mr. president, are defined as jurisdictional tributaries. this is cause for concern. this should be the disturbing and troubling to all americans, is subjecting roadside irrigation, storm water ditches to regulation under the clean water act which would have practical consequences not fully evaluated by the e.p.a. these bodies of water, mr. president, are hardly navigable. there are many cases seasonal or sporadic depending on the weather. the proposal states the e.p.a. could regulate water on a case-by-case basis, a dangerous development for a regulatory agency. the american public is right to be wary of the e.p.a. granting itself such discretion. a case-by-case approach is confusing and will inevitably lead to even more litigation. mr. president, this proposal expeedz -- exceeds the established proposal of the
e.p.a. by infringing upon a state responsibility under the clean water act. all states -- my state of south dakota, senator roberts case of kansas, senator hoeven's state of north dakota -- have an inherent interest of providing for the well-being of their citizens and businesses in ensuring safe and enduring water resources that plays a large role in achieving that end. my home state of south dakota is number one industry of agriculture. we help to feed the world. this can't be done without clean and dependable sources of water for our farmers and ranchers. this expansion of the e.p.a. regulatory authority would have significant economic impacts for property owners who would likely be hit with new federal permits, compliance costs and threats of significant fines. mr. president, agriculture is a time-sensitive business, and the burdens this proposal would place on south dakota farmers would strain the ability of producers to fertilize, to plant and to irrigate when the seasons and the weather conditions
dictate. rather, permits and regulations would bind the ability of producers to get their crops in when they need to and limit what they can do to ensure successful yields. mr. president, tourism is also a vital industry in my state of south dakota. the black hills which are home to mount rushmore draw thousands of visitors each year. it depends upon the water management of the state and county governments. according to a letter that i just received from the pendington county board of commissioners, their ability to regulate water in the blackwater area is threatened by the e.p.a. proposed rule. hunting ability allows ducks and pheasants to thrive in potholes and creeks. these are connected to waters already responsibly managed by the state of south dakota. another layer of federal regulation will only add
needless cost to protecting these waters. additionally, cities in my state are already struggling to grow under new taxes and regulations imposed by the obama administration. the e.p.a.'s latest overreach would provide environmental groups with yet another powerful tool to delay and prevent development to interfere with land use activities on property owned by homeowners, small businesses and municipal 'tis. mr. president, i've heard from south dakotaans in nearly every industry and the common consensus is this, this rule is bad for business. certainly in places like south dakota and kansas and north dakota and wyoming, but i would argue all across this country. so i'm proud to stand with my colleagues on the floor today in support of legislation that would stop the e.p.a.'s proposed clean water act jurisdictional rule and protect farmers, ranchers and homeowners across the country from the latest regulatory overreach by the obama administration. mr. president, the senator from north dakota, i think, will carry on with the colloquy here
between our colleagues in the midwestern part of the country and speak to the impacts of this ill-proposed rule on the people they represent in their states. the senator from north dakota. mr. hoeven: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that we be allowed until 10:28 for purposes of a colloquy. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. mr. hoeven: mr. president, i'm pleased to be here this morning with the distinguished senator from south dakota as well as the esteemed senators from both kansas and wyoming, to talk about this regulation that is clearly an overreach by the e.p.a. and it needs to be addressed. and we've gotten measures to address it. and as the senator from south dakota said so well, this is a regulation that is a huge problem for our farmers and ranchers, but really as he said, we've been hearing from almost
every industry sector that this is a big-time problem. it needs to be addressed. it needs to be addressed now. as i said, we have legislation both in committee, i have legislation in the appropriations committee, the energy and water subcommittee, that would address it. the good senator from wyoming has legislation that he has submitted as filed. and he is requesting a floor vote. but in both cases, whether it's in committee or whether it's here on the floor, what we're saying is give us a chance to vote on this. this is an important issue for the american people. and senators need to indicate where they stand. and i don't know why everybody shouldn't be proud to do that, to vote on this regulatory overreach and to address this challenge for the american people. it's a very straightforward issue, and that's what we're here to discuss and debate this morning. and we sincerely hope as we continue to highlight this very
important problem that the leadership of this body is going to step up on behalf of the american people and allow -- allow -- the senate to address it through its rightful duty, which is to vote on issues important to the american people. and so to continue this important dialogue, i would turn to the senator from kansas and ask for his comments on behalf of his constituents in his state in terms of what he's hearing and the problems that this waters of the u.s. proposed regulation put forward by the e.p.a. creates in the great state of kansas. mr. roberts: i thank the distinguished senator for yielding. senator hoeven, thank you for your leadership on this issue and for bringing this to the attention of all members, or especially those of us in our conference. but this should be a bipartisan effort. so i rise today, mr. president,
to join my colleagues in discussing yet another -- yet another job-stifling and unjustified regulation proposed by this administration. the e.p.a., the army corps of engineers, and the department of agriculture, the three horse men of the regulatory apocalypse, have proposed a rule that after careful review we believe would allow the e.p.a. to further expand its control of private property -- control of private property -- under the guise of the clean water act. and they claim that the proposed waters of the united states rule simply clarifies their scope of jurisdiction. well, lear's the catch. -- well, here's the catch. the -- quote -- "clarification" is from categorically classifying other waters as
regulated even if the water cannot be navigated and was previously outside of their authority. this proposal is another example of why many kansans, many farmers and ranch frers wyoming -- ranchers from wyoming, south dakota and north dakota feel their way of life is under attack by the federal government's overreach and overregulation. today at the kansas associations of grain and feed agribusiness retailers, ethanol producers, soybeans, wheat breauxers, pork producers, livestock, watersheds, and the kansas cooperative council all have opposed this rule. similar organizationness wyoming and north and south dakota and all across farm country have also been in contact with their senators. these organizations and their members fear that the e.p.a. will use this rule to further regulate farmers and ranchers as well as other normal land users such as building homes. if finalized, this rule cost --
could have the e.p.a. requiring a permit for ordinary fieldwork or the construction of a fence or even planting crops near certain waters. kansans are justifiably worried the permits could be time-consuming, costly and the eem could ultimately -- the e.p.a. could ultimately deny the permits even for long-standing practices, even practices that help the environment. a friend of mine, kansas farm, jim sypes in matter, kansas, way out there by the colorado border, still hasn't gotten much rain after three years, he expressed his view. he said the only thing that is clear and certain is under this rule it will be more difficult to farm and ranch or to make changes to the land even if those changes would benefit the environment. he knows what he's talking about. for the folks back home, the issue with the e.p.a. trying to control more water whether or
not it is actually navigable, this isn't new. we've had this before. we've been down a similar road before with the agency wanting to regulate all of the water in the country, even in small farm ponds, i would tell my colleagues that no self-respecting duck would ever land. now, i think maybe that there is a file, senator hoeven. i think there is a file down there in the basement of the e.p.a. it must be a big one, the navigable waters situation, endangered species so, that the taking of farmers' ground to force them to plant native prairie grass to save the lesser prairie chicken which we can't even find; on and on and on and on. i think it must be labeled what drives farmers and ranchers crazy. about every second foggy night, why some bozo would file and go
through the whole thing again. it isn't like we haven't gone through before on this issue. after personally calling the e.p.a. and the army corps to withdraw the proposed rule i want to make sure the expansion of the regulatory jurisdiction of the waters in the united states, let's shelf it for good. let's shelve it for good. last week i joined the distinguished senator from wyoming, senator barrasso and the majority of our caucus in legislation that prohibits the e.p.a. and the secretary of the army for finalizing the rule for similar regulation in the future. put the file back, just file it away. maybe put it somewhere where the hard drive is that lois lerner lost. we will continue working here in the senate as well as the house either to convince the administration to back off this proposal or, if necessary, to block the agencies from moving forward. we have stopped this type of
foolishness before, and i expect that we will be successful again. and i thank my colleagues for their arduous efforts. senator hoeven, thank you for leading this. mr. hoeven: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from north dakota. mr. hoeven: i'd like to thank again the senator from kansas, somebody who's been involved in agriculture for -- though he's still a very young man -- somebody who's been involved in agriculture for a long, long time, and certainly understands what goes into farming. and think about it. i mean, farmers and ranchers work the land, but that's also their home. who knows the land better? who knows the streams and the potholes and ditches and the roads, you know, who knows their land better than a farmer or a rancher? and who's more concerned about it? really. who's more imernd -- who is more
concerned about it? that farmer or somebody who works at the e.p.a. here in washington, d.c. that's important to think about as we look at this regulatory overreach that goes to the very private property rights that is the foundation of this country. i want to thank the senator from wyoming for his leadership and for the legislation he's put together that he's filed and that we should be voting on right now and that i'm very pleased to cosponsor. i would ask the senator from wyoming for his comments on this issue and his legislation. mr. barrasso: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from wyoming. mr. barrasso: mr. president, i would like to thank my friend and colleague, the former governor of north dakota, now the senator from north dakota, who knows these issues very well, and the senator from kansas, who talked about the administration's overreach and overregulations and the impact a that it has on the economy of the united states. and, mr. president, there's very disturbing news out this morning reported by reuters headlined
"bad to worse: u.s. economy shrank more than expected in quarter one of this year." "the u.s. economy contracted" -- not grew, not stayed the same but contracted, mr. president -- "at a much steeper increase than previously estimated in the first quarter." "gross domestic product fell at a 2.9% annual rate, the economy's worst performance in five years." worst performance in five years. mr. president, it's because of the overreach, the overregulation that's coming out of this administration. that's why i rise today in support with my colleagues and my colleagues who have very serious concerns about the e.p.a.'s proposed clean water act jurisdictional rule. many of these colleagues recently joined kne me in proteg the water rights of 2014. more senators continue to join
the important effort. they have joined this effort because this important and consequential legislation restricts -- restricts the expansion of federal authority by this e.p.a., which the e.p.a. is trying to use to encompass all wet areas of farms, of ranches, suburban homes all across america. more specifically, this bill eliminates the administration's proposed rule to implement the expansion of such federal authority. through this recently proposed rule, federal agencies are attempting to expand the definitions of waters of the united states. they want to include ditches and other dry areas where water flows only for a short duration after rain fawcialtion but the government wants -- after rangefall, but the government wants to control even that. this proposed rule will have a huge impact on farmers, on ranchers on small businesses
that need to put a shovel in the ground to make a living. the rule amounts to a federal user fee for farmers and ranchers to use their own land after this rains. it forces suburban homeowners to pay the e.p.a. appeared army corps to use their backyards after a storm. let's be clear what is proposed in this rule. it takes money away from family farmers and ranchers who just want to grow crops, raise cattle, and it taxes suburban middle-class families that just want to recreate in their own backyard without uncle sam bankrupting them for the privilege. this is the worst thing i think we can do for americans in this economy, an economy that is thas shining. that's why my legislation is endorsed bid american farm bureau as well as the american land rights association. and it's because they know how devastating this rule is to farmers, to ranchers, to ohm owners and other -- to homeowners and other small
businesses. despite what this administration may say and has said about providing flexibility -- they use the that word -- the farmerd ranchers of america are not deceived. they will not be misled by this the administration. according to the june edition of the publication "national cattlemen," an article entitled "e.p.a. adds exemption for waters of the united states" -- and let me point out that the "national cattlemen," it is the defensivtrusted voice and define voice of the beef industry." what that front page article says is that although agriculture imemtion exemptionse briefly included, they don't come close to meeting the needs of the cattlemen and women across the country. the president of the national
cattlemen's beef association stated in the acialtion "for example, wet spots are areas in the pasture that have standing water. under this rule could potentially be affected. we'd now need permission to travel and move cattle across these types of areas. the article lists some other major areas of agriculture not exempted by the e.p.a.'s proposed rule when the article states, "activities not covered by the imemtions include planting different corntion changing crops to pasture, changing pasture to crops, changing cropland to orchards and to vineyards and changing cropland to nurseries." mr. president, congress never intended the clean water act to be used this way. the senate, under democrat control, never brought legislation such as the clean water restoration act to the floor that would have removed the word "navigable" from the act. why? because they knew it would have been defeated.
in fact, a majority of the senators voted for the barrasso amendment that rejected the e.p.a.'s proposed guidance to seize all state water during the water resources development act, mr. president. yet this proposed rule by the administration is circumventing congress by effectivel effectivg "and a haland a"navigable" out n water act u in decisions had that limit federal jurisdiction, it is particularly troubling that the proposed rule allows the army corps and e.p.a. to regulate waters now considered entirely under state jurisdiction. this unprecedented exercise of power will allow the e.p.a. to trump states' rights and wipe out the authority of the state and local governments to meet local land and water use
decisions. it's particularly troubling when we've seen no evidence, no evidence at all, that the states are misusing or otherwise failing to meet their responsibilities. enormous resources are be needed to expand the clean water act federal regulatory program, not only will there be a host of landowners and project proponents who will now be subject to clean water act mandates and costs of obtaining permits, but an increase in the number of permits needed will lead to longer delays in actually getting the permits. increased delays in securing permits will exceed impede a hf rackivities, cost thousands of jobs, electric transmission, transparence projects be, bridge repairs, energy development and mining will all be negatively effects. this is at a time when the united states has seen our economy shrink and the reuters story today talks about shrinkage much more than
predicted previously. regulations like this continue to damage america, damage our country, damage our families, damage our communities, damage the hardworking men and women who want to go to work, put food on the table, raise their families, go to work, but yet we have an administration that doesn't seem to see o, are blind by the role of -- are blinded by the role of big government, blinded by the gac impact that e regulations are having on our economy, as i.n.s pointed out by reuters about the shrinking of the american economy. thank you. mr. hoeven: i would like to thank the senator from wyoming for his leadership on this important issue and pick up on a point that he just expressed. why aren't we demanding in this bead thabody that we vote on len to address this proposed
regulation? as he said so clearly and eloquently, this is an issue that this congress rejected so now when one of the agencies, the e.p.a., goes around congress to set up a proposed regulation that does something that the congress expressly rejected, why in the world aren't swreeting on it? it's our responsibility and our right to do so. mr. president, america's farmers and ranchers and entrepreneurs go to work every day to build a stronger nation. thanks to these hardwor hardworn and women there is affordable food at the grocery store. in these difficult economic times, the federal government should be doing all it can to empower those who grow our food and those who create jobs. yet instead regulators are stifling growth with burdensome regulations that generate costs and uncertainty. look at the economic data, as the senator from wyoming said,
that came out this morning. what are we doing stifling that entrepreneurial activity, that entrepreneurship that creativity that makes the american economy grow? and this regulation -- this proposed regulation is an example of that and it touches almost every industry. we're here today talking about our farmers and ranchers, but it's -- it goes across all industry sectors. the proposed rule by the army corps of engineers and the environmental protection agency to regulate the waters of the u.s. is exactly the type of regulation that is hurting our economy, hurting our entrepreneurs, hurting our farmers and our ranchers. the waters of the u.s. rule greatly expands the scope of the clean water act. regulations over america's streams and wetlands. if you take a look at a chart that i brought -- i know it is a little hard to see, but i think demonstrates the incredible reach of this proposed
regulation. if you look at the chart, you can see that it's a real power grab that will enable the e.p.a. to stretch its tentacles far into the countryside and far beyond. it is not just our farmers and ranchers and water in a ditch or water in a field that's there for maybe a week when it rains and the rest of the time it's dry. it affects construction, it affects power plants, it affects storm water drainage. as a matter of fact, i can't think of anything that it's not going to affect. is that how our country works now? instead of the people who are duly elected to pass laws for this country, we stand here and we don't get to vote on any of these issues that we were reelected to vote on, and somebody who is not elected in the e.p.a. or the corps, they put regulations in place that affect virtually every single american? is that how this works now?
is that what it's come to, because that's exactly what's happening? that's exactly what's going on p. the supreme court has found that federal jurisdiction under the clean water act extends to navigable waters. i don't think anyone is arguing about the e.p.a.'s ability to regulate the missouri river or other navigable bodies of water -- rivers, lakes. but the supreme court also made clear that not all bodies of water are under the e.p.a.'s jurisdiction. so under a significant nexus determination, the 5*e7 has -- p has -- the e.p.a. has decided, we don't care what the supreme court has said. we're just going to put a regulation in place that enables us to do whatever we want with any body of water, not just navigable bodies of water.
and again that's what i've tried to show on this chart. ephemeral streams, tributaries, all waters deemed adjacent to any navigable body, including dry ditches, including water in fields that may be there for a short period of time, runoff from storm sewers, you name it. that's not the intent of the law. thea's it's not the intent of the supreme court rule. that's why it's so important that we address it here. that's -- that's what we propose to do in the legislation we've put forward both here on the floorks the bill filed by the senator from wyoming, the legislation that i've offered in energy and water, we simply and straightforwardly address this regulation. mr. president, i ask how much time do i have remaining? the presiding officer: the gentleman's time has expired. mr. hoeven: i'd ask u.c. for
two minutes to wrap up. spher fer is there objection? the senator from maryland. mr. cardin: i would have no objection as long as equal time sadded to the block that a.l.s. follows for the democrats. the presiding officer: is there objection to the senator from maryland's addendum to your motion? mr. hoeven: i have no objection. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. h.o.v. mr. president, that' -- mr. hoeven:man, that's our point here. we understand that people bring different points of view to this deliberative body. this is an important issue that affects virtually all americans, that affects our economy, affects our farmers, ranchers, businesses, the energy sector, you name it. when we have something of this importance, we have an absolute responsibility to the people of this country to stand up and show where we stand on the issue. meaning, we have a responsibility to vote on this and the other important issues before this body. and that's what we're asking
for. we're saying, everybody has a right to bring their point of view and their opinion. but we all have a right and a responsibility to vote on these important issues, and that's what we're asking for is a vote on this important issue for the benefit of the american people. mr. president, i thank you and i yield the floor. mr. cardin: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from maryland. mr. cardin: mr. president, it's my understanding that the democrats now control the next 32 minutes. the presiding officer: the next 30 minutes. mr. cardin: 30 minutes. i would ask consent that senator whitehouse and i be allowed to participate in a colloquy with other members or to yield time during that 32 minutes. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. cardin: mr. president, i was listening to my colleagues on the other side of the aisle talk about the proposed rule for the waters of the u.s., and i'm somewhat curious as to where
they get a lot of their information from, because if they read the proposed rule -- and i point out that this is a proposed rule -- if you'll read the proposed rule, it specifically excludes from waters of the united states certain ditches and wastewater treatment plants and ponds, et cetera. and i'm going to get into the specifics. but if you would listen to their points on the floor, you would think that all ditches are covered under the proposed rule which is now subject to comment. and that's just not the case. i would just urge those who are interested to please read the proposed rule and determine for yourself the fact that it does not include many of the examples given by the opponents of clarifying the waters of the united states. let me just, if i might point out, last week i had a round table discussion with a group of scientists and concerned citizens dealing with the
progress that we made on the chesapeake bay. the chesapeake bay is critically important not just to those of us who live in the watershed. it's the -- it's the largest he is -- estuary in our hemisphere. it's a national treasure and has been declared that by many presidents. it's iconic to maryland and supports the diversity of aquatic life. $1 trillion of our economy is based on the chesapeake bay. starting in the 1980's, we recognized that we had a responsibility to do what we could to preserve and clean up the quality of the water in the chesapeake bay. starting with maryland, pennsylvania and virginia and now expanding to delaware, west virginia and new york and the district of columbia and the federal government, we have a chesapeake bay agreement. the fourth one was recently signed. it recognizes that we have a real challenge to deal with the quality of water in the bay, and
we've asked our farmers to do more. and we've provided help for them in the farm bill for conservation practices. we've asked developers to do more by preserving more pervious surfaces and dealing with the loss of acreage of farmland. we've asked local governments to do more with dealing with wastewater treatment facilities. we've had a partnership between the government and private sectors. all stakeholders are involved because we believe we all have responsibilities. we're not asking one segment to do it alone. all of us are working together. but, quite frankly, the regulation of the waters of the united states directly affect the success that we're going to have in cleaning up the chesapeake bay. so the issue that we're talking about with waters of the united states and clarifying that has a direct impact. i might also tell you that climate change has a direct impact. and those of us who live in the watershed area, yes, we can do
our responsibility reducing our carbon footprint, but we need to get our country engaged in reducing our carbon footprint. we need to do that for many reasons. we need to do that for public health. we need to do that for national security. let me remind our colleagues that the naval academy, aberdeen proving grounds, pax, all critically important to our national defense, are located to our coast on maryland and are subjected now to more flooding. as a result sea level increases which in part is the result of our activities with climate change. all we ask is that we follow the science, that we follow the science. so let me talk for a moment about waters of the united states, because i heard what my colleague said. and i've got to take you back to 2001 when the supreme court issued two decisions concerning the navigable waters and waters of the u.s. and out of conclusion and what this administration is trying to do, what we're trying to do is restore the authority that we
all thought was in the law for the two supreme court decisions. that's all we're doing, trying to go back to what everyone understood was the regulations of the waters of the united states. because, you see, the fresh water supply coming into the chesapeake bay is critically important to the health of the chesapeake bay. if water goes into the streams, it goes into the bay, that's of concern to us and that needs to be regulate under the clean water act. let me just quote from the preamble of the proposed regulation that has been submitted. the preamble says that the swank and rapid oaks decision resulted in the agencies evaluating the jurisdictions of waters on a case specific basis far more frequently than is best for clear implementation of the clean water act. this approach results in confusion and uncertainty to the regulated public and results in significant resources being allocated to these determinations by federal and state regulators. that's end quote.
that's why we had this proposed rule, to clarify the law, to give certainty. how many times have i heard from my constituents, let us know what the rules are so we can do our business. that's exactly what this proposed rule is all about. the national farm union issued this statement. the national farm union has long advocated for increased certainty surrounding clean water act requirements for family farmers and ranchers in the wake of the complicating supreme court decisions. today's draft rule clarifies clean water act jurisdiction, maintains existing agricultural exemptions and adds new exemptions and encourages enrollment in the u.s. department of agriculture conservation programs. that's their quote. the reason that is, that there are 56 conservation practices that are specifically exempt from this regulation. so if farmers are participating in these conservation practices, they don't have to worry about
the issue that some of my colleagues refer to. now let me quote from the proposed regulation itself. what it says in the regulation, the following are not -- not -- waters of the united states: wastewater -- waste treatment systems including treatment ponds and lagoons, prior converted cropland, ditches that are excavated, and it gives certain conditions. ditches that do not contribute flow either directly or through another water to the waters of the united states. so we have exempted ditches. certain artificial irrigated areas are exempted, create bid excavating or diking dry land. artificial reflecting pools or swimming pools created by excavating and/or diking dry lands. small ornamental waters created by excavating or diking dry land. water-filled depressions, groundwater including
groundwater drain through surface drainage systems, gullies and rails and nonwetland swells. if you listen to my colleagues, they would tell you that if you have a ditch as a farmer on your property, that just is on your property that you're using for irrigation on your property, it would be subject to this regulation. it is not. it is specifically exempt. here's the point. here's the point. a senator: would the senator yield for a question? mr. cardin: let me finish my point at this point. here's the point. this is a proposed regulation. if you think further clarification is needed, there's an extended comment period. if you think we need to make further clarifications on issues because what we're trying to get at are practices that affect water that will go into our streams and rivers, and in my case end up in the chesapeake bay watershed, which makes our work in trying to clean up the bay, we have to deal with that. the success of the chesapeake
bay program is that all stakeholders are involved. we use best science. we need everyone doing their fair share. and, therefore, if your activities contribute to water flowing into the chesapeake bay watershed through our streams and rivers, yes, you're regulated on the clean water act. but if you have a self-contained ditch that is not involved in that you're using for irrigation, absolutely not. if you participate in the conservation programs, you're within -- you don't have to worry about a new set of regulations. that's what this does. let me, if i might, our true leaders on this has been senator whitehouse, and i thank him very much on the climate change issues, on the environmental issues. he's been on the floor every day. i want to make sure that my colleagues have a chance to express their views on this issue. it's critically important. so let me, if i might yield to my colleague from rhode island. mr. whitehouse: thank you -- mr. hoeven: madam president, i would ask would the senators yield for a question?
mr. whitehouse: i'd be pleased to yield for a question but let me make one point first. i think it is not insignificant that each senator who spoke against this proposed regulation hails from a landlocked state. coastal states -- coastal states -- like maryland and like rhode island have quite a different perspective because we have bays. in senator cardin's case, the chesapeake bay. in my case, narrangansett bay. you don't have to look much farther than the gulf coast to see an example of what happens when landlocked states up the river overload flowing waters with chemicals like nitrogen and phosphorous, that have a beneficial use as fertilizer in
those landlocked upland states. but when it runs off and comes down into smaller tributaries and ends up in the mighty mississippi river and streams down through the middle of our great country and out into the gulf of mexico, it creates literally dead zones. dead zones in which nothing lives because the water has become anaerobic, meaning it does not carry oxygen enough to support life. and some of these can be vast dead zones, and very often they result in fish kills, crab kills because the species don't have the chance to get out of the way. suddenly they're strangling, they're suffocating in their own waters. that is not something that we can overlook. and i am willing to listen to my
colleagues who have upland, landlocked agricultural states tell me about how important it is that they be able to load up with fertilizer and grow their crops and do all those things. i appreciate and understand that point of view. that is not the only point of view. there are sister states for whom that creates a real problem, and it is not fair to come to this conversation and assume that we have nothing to say, that our coasts have no stake in these decisions, and that there is only one side to this argument, and that is how much stuff you can dump out on your agricultural properties. that just isn't fair. that just isn't accurate. it's not scientific. and it's not good for our country. and i think we need to have a good debate in which the coastal states and their imperatives and their perils are also a part of
the equation. now i'll yield for senator hoeven's question. and i ask that the time used for senator hoeven's question be charged against republican time. mr. hoeven: without objection. i'd like to thank the senator from rhode island and the senator from maryland for coming down to the floor and engaging in this very important debate. i think that is exactly the point i'm making. thank you for being here. this is a debate we should have, and it should be vigorous as it is. and we should have all members, whether they're from a coastal state or from an inland state, and we should debate every aspect and every issue that goes with this proposed rule. this is important. this is something that affects the american people regardless of what state you live in. we should have this debate and then we should vote on this issue. we should make -- we should determine this law. my question is very simply first, b.b.a., in order to provide exemptions, has to maintain they have jurisdiction in all these areas. that's the very point i'm making
to the senator from maryland's point. e.p.a. is now deciding where they have jurisdiction and where they don't. we're not. and they're doing it far beyond the scope of the supreme court's rule. so my question is: if they can decide where they have, they're going to give exemptions, how can you say they're not excerpting jurisdiction? and to the goes from rhode island, every downstream issue can allege the issue that you made in your earlier point. i understand it. but to both of you, my point is let's have this debate and then let's vote on behalf of the american people. would you agree that that's what we should be doing in this body? mr. whitehouse: reclaiming the floor, let me say that -- a little bit of history as to how we got here, because i think that bears very much on the senator's questions. we had quite a clear set of regulations under the clean water act. most everybody understood them. there was a standard operating practice that had developed, and
into that relatively stable situation came these two supreme court decisions that senator cardin referred to. and they cast a constitutional paul -- pall and statutory pall over the scope of e.p.a.'s authority for nonnavigable waters. but -- and the supreme court gets to do this if it wants -- they provided very little clarity. very little clarity. and so there was vast uncertainty about what was going on now in the wake of these decisions. so members of congress, businesses, agriculture groups, environmental groups, many other stakeholders, asked for this rule making. they asked for this rule making so that the administrative agency that was going to enforce these provisions could be given
the first cut at figuring out how they apply. that's what they did in this rule making. they answered the call that came from congress, agricultural interests, environmental interests and they have come up with a proposed rule. the rule reiterates all of the exclusions that preexisted and it adds even new clarification that excludes certain water features outright. this is the clarification that congress asked fomplet this is the clarification that agriculture and environmental interests asked for. and i would submit to my friend, senator hoeven that if he doesn't like this result, wait until there's actually a result. participate in the administrative process, let e.p.a. know what your fetallings are, and if they come out with a fuel, a final rule. this is just a proposed rule that he finds intolerable for
his land-locked upland agricultural interests, then we'll have that debate and have an actual rule to argue about. but while he is an open indianavitation from e.p.a., we shouldn't truch that process. they are the experts in this part -- type of enforcement. we're going to hand it back to them anyway because we legislate very broadly. so let's let them do the process. let's let them come up with a rule and then i'm ready for this debate all day long. but don't forget our coastal state, don't forget our bays. mr. cardin: i also want senator hoeven to understand the hiroshima. shortly after the supreme court decision, many of us filed legislation because there needed to be clarification. we had urged congress, but it was the opposition from the republicans that prevented us from considering that legislation. they blocked us from considering a congressional clarification as
to the supreme court decisions. and now we're faced with the situation that the administration is doing what it must do, that is to provide under its own authority where it can act clarification that is so desperately needed. as senator whitehouse has said, what this regulation is about is clarifying the confusion by the supreme court decision as to what is regulated or not. as a result, landowners are -- don't know whether they can do this or not. they don't know whether -- and that's the worst of all worlds when you don't have certainty, as to how you need to act. that does cause speculation that in many cases is not true, but they don't know what the rules are. so quite frankly wharkts administration rule is patterned after is a lot of the discussion we had in the congress of the united states shortly after the supreme court decisions as to trying to codify the practice before the supreme court
decisions. there didn't seem to be a lot of people upset with the manner in which the e.p.a. was regulating the waters of the u.s. prior to to have the supreme court decisions in 2001. and that's that this regulation is aimed at getting us to the point where we were before the supreme court decisions and where congress was trying to legislate but blocked by republicans back shortly after the decision. so i think senator whitehouse is exactly right. now what we should be doing is, if you have concerns, express it through comments. first, it might be helpful if you read the regulation and see what's in it and what's not in it, what is regulated, what is not regulated. if there's things in here that you think are wrong, that's what a comment period's about. and let's wait till we get the final regulation and then, yes, we're going to have debate, i'm sure, on the floor at that time, which is appropriate, and then we can debate exactly what th the -- the regulation would be. mr. whitehouse: may i ask the senator from maryland to comment on another point.
you know, we're having a conversation right here, right now on the floor about a specific e.p.a. regulation. but those of us who are here on the floor a lot and those of us who pay attention to these issues, you can't not see this conversation in the context of a larger conversation that is taking place in the senate and that causes me to inquire, when will a republican come to the floor and ever support e.p.a. on anything? when will that happen? i was just over speaking in the house at a hearing and representative elijha cummings, who was the ranking member of the committee that i was testifying before, pointed out that they were coming up on the house republicans 500th vote attacking the environment. 500 over there in the house. now, we know they've tried to
repeal obamacare, what, 50-plus times. 500 attacking environmental regulations. [no audio] of a party that is simply thrown over its proud environmental shift and just consistently takes the position of the polluter almost as a reflex? mr. cardin: senator whitehouse, you're exactly right. we were together in a hearing in the environment and public works committee where we had many previous administrators from the environmental protection agency, there were those that served under -- they were those that served under democratic administrations and those who served under republican administrations. mr. whitehouse: if i remember correctly, we had four from republican administrations. mr. cardin: at that hearing, we were talking about the clean air act, which was passed by bipartisan support in the congress and signed into law by president nixon. and it was a proud moment. and we've done many analysis that the regulation as that are issued under clean water and clean air pay back dividends far
in excess of compliance costs, like 40-1. so the people who can breathe and not have to worry about an asthma attack on a day because we have clean error those who don't get sick because of the path agains that -- path again as that may be in our drinking water or people getting sick just bathing on our shores, that we've reduced that. the number of premature deaths that we have eliminated. the public health benefit of the clean water and clean air act pays back multiple dividends to the people of this country and that's why this has never been a partisan issue. quite frankly, the chesapeake bay program, the partnership, has never been a partisan issue in maryland. some of our strongest benefactors who have -- are -- the people who have caused us to -- to have the time of unity have be republican leaders in our state. so this is never -- democratic leaders also, i might add. this has never been -- we don't even know the party of a lot of people.
this has been a public calling because we know the seriousness of the issue. and the environmental protection agency has a long history of nonpartisan activities in order to protect the public health and the peoplofthe people of this c. and it's extremely disappointing that there's no cooperation at all. mr. whitehouse: it is. it is an anomaly. it's a historical anomaly that the present-day republican party finds itself in this position, where they will only come to the floor to attack and try to discredit the e.p.a. the only times they come to talk about the e.p.a., it's to oppose what the e.p.a. is doing. they will never come to the floor and admit that climate change is real and that we should do something about it. they will never do that. the position that's articulated most frequently on this floor is the position that climate change is a hoax. even young republicans think that idea is preposterous. but that's as far as we get in trying to have a conversation on that issue. the other side has just gone dark on dealing with climate
change. they simply won't discuss it or they send out as their champions the people who claim that it's not real. that makes things a little bit awkward. and always, always, always, always, always where there are two sides of the ledger, they look just at the one side. they look just at the polluter side. they look just at the upland farmers and their nitrogen and their phosphorous and they won't look at what that means to our coastal bays and coasts and harbors. they look only at the money that a polluter has to spend to clean up their power plant and they don't look at the savings to the rest of the public from that cleaned-up power plant. senator cardin mentioned the savings from the clean air act and the clean water act. i can be specific about the clean air act savings. it's $30 -- $30 in value to all regular american families for
every $1 that the polluters had to spend to clean up their act. $1 spent by polluters to clean up their act paid $30 in benefit to the american public. and they will only look at the $1. they never talk about the rest. they have blinders on that obliges them only to consider the point of view of the polluters. i never hear anything else. and i urge and i challenge my colleagues to get out of that trap. the american people are not with you on this. you are wrong on the science on this. this general attack on the environment at this stage in our history will stain the party's brand if it's not corrected. they have got to come back and join the debate on a platform of fact and in a context of willingness to look at both
sides of the ledger. and with that, i see colleagues on the floor who i'm sure seek time so i will yield the floor. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from virginia. mr. kaine: madam president, i rise to discuss the current crisis in iraq. in particular i want to discuss an important question, would congress need to approve any u.s. military combat action in iraq? last week the president summoned congressional leadership to the white house to discuss the deteriorating situation in iraq and a potential united states response. press reports of the meeting had members quoted the president as saying he had all necessity authority for military action already and some accounts had the congressional leaders also agreeing that the president had necessary authority.
madam president, i do not believe that this president or any president has the ability without congressional approval to initiate military action in iraq or anywhere else except in the case of an emergency posing an imminent throat the u.s thre. or its citizens. and i also assert that the current crisis in iraq, while serious and posing a possibility of a long-term threat to the united states, is not the kind of conflict where the president can or should act unilaterally. if the united states is to contemplate military action in iraq, the president must seek congressional authorization. let me point out that the white house has been in significant consultation with congressional leadership and members in the past weeks and that consultation is important and it's appreciated, but it's not the same thing as seek congressional authority. that has yet to be done and it must be done if the u.s. intends to engage in any combat activity
in iraq. madam president, a word about the law. the framers of the constitution had a clear understanding regarding decisions about war. congress must act to initiate war. a war, once initiated, is then managed by the president as commander in chief. the principal drafter of the constitution, virginian james madison, often explained why the allocation of power was drawn in this way. quote -- "the constitution supposes what the history of all governments demonstrates, that the executive is the branch of power most interested in war and most prone to it. it has accordingly, with studied care, vested the question of war to the legislature." the framers did understand that a president must be able to act in an emergency to protect the united states or its citizens. even prior to congressional approval. and that was especially the case in a day when members of
congress, upon the recess, would ride horses back to vermont or wherever they lived. a president had to be able to act if the u.s. or an embassy or a naval ship was under attack. but even in those circumstances, madam president, the framers understood that in an emergency, a president could act but would then still need to seek formal congressional approval of any military action that had been taken. it's important to understand that this basic allocation of powers, not just about constitutional phrases, it's about underlying values. first, the requirement for congressional approval ensures that american troops will not be sent in to combat without a clear political consensus that the mission is worthwhile. it would be the height of public immorality to order service members to risk their lives when the nation's political leadership has not done the work to reach a consensus about the value of a mission.
secondly, the requirement of congressional approval to initiate war also guarantees that there will be a public process of debate and voting by which the citizenry can also become educated about what's at stake and whether america should take the grave step of authorizing war to protect the national interest. congress, as the decision-maker, as the initiator, as the declarer of war, supports these important underlying values. now, applying that law to iraq, the current situation is very troubling. congress authorized war in iraq in 2002. in 2008, president bush signed an agreement with iraqi prime minister maliki to cease combat operations and withdraw u.s. troops by the end of 2011. after president obama became president, he worked with iraq and was willing to have u.s. troops stay past 2011 to provide
continued assistance to the iraqi security forces, if they desired it. but the iraqi government would not provide the immiewfntses and other -- immunitie immunities ar security assurances that were necessary for the united states to stay. they basically communicated that they did not want us to stay. and so the u.s. military ceased combat operations and departed in 2011. by all accounts, the u.s. combat role stopped at that moment. since then, prime minister maliki has governed iraq in way that. instead of buildingage iraq for all iraqis, the maliki government has preferred the shia population watt support of iran and marginalized impressing even the sunni kurdish populations. these actions have weakened the support fowsh the government.
the fanatical sunni organization isil has grown in its campaign to topple the syrian government and the now seeks to do the same in iraq as part of its plan to establish a larger single sunni caliphate from lebanon to iran. isil a well-armed and well-funded organization of jihadists while their primary motive is the toppling of governments in the region, there is little doubt that they will seek in the future strike western tarlts in europe and the united states. this explains the current concern and the current debate in this body about how to counter the threat that isil poses. while isil terrorists pose a kernings it is important to point out that there is nothing in current law that would allow the president to take military action against them without congressional approval. so let's look at current law.
congress passed an authorization to the use of military force immediately after 9/11, the 9/11 attacks to allow action against those who perpetrated the attacks on that day. isil had no connection with the 9/11 attacks. isil did not form until 2003. both the bush and obama administrations have broadly interpreted that to allow attacks against al qaeda or associated forces. but isil is not al qaeda. nor is it an associated force. while it forged a temporary alliance with al qaeda in 2004, three years after 9/11, it is now an avowed enemy of al qaeda and it's viciously battling al qaeda in syrias a we speak. it woke a wholly unprecedented stretch to suggest that the 2001 awvment mf would justify action against isil in iraq. congress acted in 2002 to
authorize military objection in iraq to topple the regime of saddam hussein. all combat operations ceased in 2011. and even the administration now maintains that the iraq aumf is now obsolete and repealed. clearly the 2002aumf would not support unilateral action against isil. in some instances a president relies upon a treaty, ratified by congress that required the u.s. to come to the military defense of an ally. but there is no such treaty obligating america to defend iraq in this instance. finally, madam president, there is not yet an imminent threat to the united states that would allow the president to take unilateral military action against isil. the administration rightly points out that the growth of isil could approve a threat to the u.s. in the medium or long term but they pose no imminent threat to the united states today. of course should isil threaten the u.s. embassy in bag darksd
the president could take emergency military action to rescue american personnel and all of us are watching carefully and all of us will support action to protect the lives of our diplomatic personnel. so i conclude, madam president, from looking at all the authorities that the president cannot initiate unilateral action in military with the sole exception of acting promptly to secure american embassy personnel. the dangerous situation with isil in iraq is exactly the kind of situation where the president must not only consult with congress but he also must seek congressional approval for any proposed military action. now, we know seeking congressional approval for military action is very challenging, and it's contentious, and it's 130e6d to be. while this often frustrates the executive, it is how the system is supposed to work. when presidents follow the rule it generally works out for the best. let me use the recent example of
syria. when the president did follow the basic form and it worked out in a way where something positive happened. not something that we might hap want, but something hassive. the united states believes it would be wrong for syria to use chemical weapons in violation of the 1925 geneva convention. in august of 2013, syria crossed that red line and did use quail chemical weapons against men, women, and children. the president weighed what to do. he came to congress seeking authority to punish the use -- the assad administration for using chemical weapons and to deter their use in the future. as a member of the foreign relations committee, we had extensive hearings and then we voted to groonts military authority to the president to take action. madam president, as you know, it was contentious in the body. the matter never came to a full vote in the senate floor and the house floor. but after the foreign relations
committee authorized the president to use military force, syria then stepped up for the first time acknowledged that they had a chemical weapon stockpile, essentially acknowledged that they had used it, and then committed through international organizations, the u.n., to destroy one of the largest chemical weapons stockpiles in the world. that accomplished the mission that the president had put on the table to deter future use of chemical weapons. there is no better deterrent of that stockpile of chemical weapons than their complete destruction. and as of now, the entire declared chemical weapons stockpile of syria has been destroyed and work is under way to determine whether there's undeclared elements of the stockpile that still must be destroyed. the fact of the destruction of this kell weapons stockpile happened because the president followed the rules, came to the senate, we acted to support military force, and then that led to this important break 13 through. i met two weeks ago with
officials connected with the israeli government and they said -- they described what a game changer it is in the region for syria's neighbors -- turkey, israel, jordan, lebanon -- to have that chemical weapons stockpile removed. so the president followed the rule, came to congress, and what was the while the syrian civil war is not over and is carrying on, that huge stockpile of weapons of mass destruction is not -- is now gone. that teaches me and tells me, let's just learn from that. the president should come to congress, if military action is contemplated in iraq, and he has an excellent opportunity before him to initiate that discussion right now. all know that the 2001 authorization passed in the days after 9/11 to enable us to go after the attack's pepper trairts is badly in need of an update after 13 years. despite its facial language only
allowing military action against those complicit in the 9/11 attacks, it has been broadly interpreted to authorize a global war against al qaeda or associated forces so long as they pose a threat to the united states or any of its dozens of -- quote -- "coalition partners." that aumf 13 years later has no geographic limitation. it this ahas no expiration date. members of the administration have testified in senate hearings that they expect that the war declared in that aumf may go on in for the next 25-30 years. i have no doubt -- i wasn't here in 2001, but i have no doubt that the members of congress who voted for that authorization never would have contemplated war lasting into the 2030's or 20 40's. and the american public has never expressed support for such a notion of perpetual war. but, madam president, the threat posed to the united states and
our allies by non-state terrorist organizations whether isil or al qaeda or boko haram or others is very real. st's quite different from the old notion of nation state military power. in a speech in may of 2013 to the national defense university, president obama recognized that the administration and congress have to work together to examine and update the 2001 oumf in order to narrow its scope, clarify when it allows and make it suitable for the new challenges buffs. i heard many of my colleagues say exactly the same thing. but, madam president, there has been no progress on this necessary update. the administration has made no proposal. there is no aumf revision under active consideration in either house.
strangly while all okay knowledge that we need an update, we drift from crisis to crisis, syria, iraq, p.o.w. exchanges, without grappling with the underlying document that initiated our entry into war. we cannot afford further delays. as i conclude, i encourage all of u us, let's embark on the wok of updating the reauthorization to reflect the current dimensions of our security chasms the administration should send to congress a proposal for a reavised and narrowed authorization that specifies how the united states should seek to counter threats posed by groups like isil. there will be a role for the military and there will be a role for counterterrorism activities carried out by our intelligence agencies. there will be a role for diplomacy and there will also be a role for development
assistance to eliminate the conditions of de desperation tht so often breed fanatacism. but it is time for those rules to be clearly described so that they can be publicly debated and ultimately adopted by congress. madam president, i yield the floor. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from new mexico. mr. udall: thank you, madam president. and i thank my colleague from the foreign relations committee for a very good speech on a critical issue that our nation faces right now. madam president, on july 16, 1945, the first atomic bomb was exploded at the trinity site in new mexico. for residents of the thank you.
larosa basin, it was the beginning of cancer and suffering that continues to this day. next month there will be a candlelight vigil. folks will once again gather as they have done now for each year for the past five years. they will stand shoulder to shoulder, they will light candles, and they will remember. they will remember that an injustice was done and has yet to be righted. the trinity explosion paid little attention to surrounding communities. radioactive debris necessarily e sky, killing cattle, poisoning water, the food, the air we breathe. the damage was done and would remain long after the test was finished for generations, the suffering it caused is very real and so is the sadness, disappointment, and anger. attention wags no was not paid t
it must be paid now. that's i've introduced legislation to amend the radiation exposure compensation act, to recognize the trinity site, to include new mexicans who have suffered for decades who still wait for justice, who still wait for compensation from the federal government for their injuries -- almost 70 years later still waiting. we can't change the past, we can't restore the lives of those who have passed away or erase the years of health problems, the years of suffering endured by too many and for too long. but fair compensation will make it difference. and provide badly needed help. the original rica legislation required years of work on the ground. my father helped lay the groundwork fo for reca a quufora century ago through his work with radiation exposure survice
and their fathers compiling records and histories of victims. the actual la rosa basening consortium continues this critical work and i encourage them to keep up the fight. this is a bipartisan effort and driven by simple fairness for american citizens who should have been helped but were ignored instead. our bill would expand the downwind exposure area to include seven states, from the trinity and nevada test sites and would include guam from the pacific site. it would also help post-1971 uranium minors to be eligible for compensation. and it would fund a critical public health study of those who live and work in uranium development communities. i will continue to push for this legislation. it's the right thing to do. and we should get it done. when folks gather in actual la
rosa and stand together, as candles flicker in the new mexico sky, we will take a moment and remember those who have been affected by cancer, who have been brought down by radiation-related diseases. we will remember those who have passed away and those who continue to suffer and offer you arourprayers and support to thoo are still fighting. we stand with you. we know you have suffered. we know justice has not been done. and we will not rest until it is. i want to commend the actual la rosa downwinders sortum, folks like the late-fred tyler, who will be greatly missed, dedicated, committed, refusing to give up. thank you for making your voices heard, for makings your stories known and for not giving up the fight. together we will keep working for fairness, until the day
comes when we can stand together in actual la rosa and light candles of celebration that justice has been done. madamchair, i yield the floor. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: is not frr missouri. mr. blunt: madam president, i want to talk today about a couple of different issues, the one -- the basic issue, the first greem and first amendment in our country that most people in the world today are seeing in jeopardy. and that's freedom of religion. just finishing reading an article here from the b.b.c. about the current status of mariam ebra hemo, just two days ago she was released from her death sentence in sudan and many people in this building, many people around the world applauded that. her death sentence was a death
sentence that had been issued because she wouldn't dis-avow her christian faith. and in fact for months she'd been held in prison. she had a child born while she was in prison. she had a young child with her while she was in prison. the birth of the baby and then the early months of the baby's life had been decided that would be the determining factor as to when she would be first beaten and then hanged because she wouldn't dis-avow her faith. two days ago she and her two children were set free. she is the wife of a u.s. citizen, a naturalized u.s. citizen. she had been imprisoned by this government and unfairly so. many of my colleagues have been working to secure her release. last month senator ayotte and i sent a letter to secretary kerry
urging him to offer and provide political asylum for her immediately. shouldn't have to provide asylum for her family. her husband is a u.s. citizen, both of her children because of that would be a u.s. citizen. but because of her faith, she had been sentenced to a death sentence. the state department wondered how much jurisdiction it had in this case and so senator ayotte and i sent another letter, both to the state department and to homeland security for that agency's ability to impact whether people can leave a country or come into a country. on monday it looked like this situation was moving in the right direction. she was reported to be acquitted. she was set free. she was allowed to join her husband and their children at the airport.
but yesterday when they tried to leave the airport, news outlets reported that she was re-arrested. now, i hope re-arrested, as opposed to detained for paperwork, is the wrong term. but the sudanese government needs to let her go. if they are so concerned about these issues of favorite that they don't want someone there that is willing to promote another faith or at least live another faith, they should at the very least let her leave the country. i think asylum in the united states for her u.s. citizen husband, her u.s. citizen children and her would be an appropriate thing. and then the danger they feel they face by someone who's willing to profess another faith would be -- would be gone. i can't imagine why the sudanese government would not want to let her leave the country. and i'd just like to encourage them today to do that.
cbs news reported that the niss, they described as a shadowy, feared institution, said on its facebook page that ibrahim and her family had been attempting to travel to the united states with documents from the embassy of south sudan. if sudan wasn't confusing enough for the rest of the world, that country, because of its many problems, split between the north and the south after years of civil war in 2011. and miss ibrahim had a u.s. visa, apparently documents, reportedly at least by this news report, possibly from south sudan. but those documents should have been enough to let her leave and should not have been considered another criminal offense. these authorities have told reporters that miriam ibrahim
was using a valid travel document issued by the embassy of south sudan but her valid travel documents suddenly is not good. the state department i hope is doing everything they can working with the sudanese government to secure that this family is able to come back to the united states. this continued harassment over someone's faith has to end. we need to be doing everything we can. her husband is a u.s. citizen. her children are u.s. citizens. this is an american family, madam president, and sudan should let them leave and let them leave now. and if this was the only problem like this in the world, it would be a terrible problem, but there are problems like this in so many places in the world now. and the one faith you apparently can't profess is the christian faith.
when the news of her death sentence, of miriam's death sentence came, it was about the same day that reports of another american citizen, pastor sahid abadini had been beaten badly in the hospital that he was in in iran, and he was there because of his faith, and he was being taken to a prison that was notoriously an iranian prison that's the most dangerous prison you could possibly be in, in iran. last year i joined with 11 of my colleagues here sending a letter to -- at the time it was secretary clinton was leaving, urging her to use every resource we had to secure his release as well. our letter condemned the iranian government for his prosecution. he was born in iran. he converted to christianity as a teenager. before moving to the united states with his wife, he
established some churches that were underground churches in that country. in 2009, he went back. he was arrested for so-called christian activities. he was released on bail. he agreed not to continue his work with the underground churches, but as he was traveling back and forth between the united states and iran in recent years, he was working to establish orphanages, nonreligious orphanages in iran. but in september of 2012, he was detained after he lawfully came into iran through turkey. he's now serving an eight-year jail sentence on charges related to his christian faith. and all the time he's been the there, he has been interrogated intensely. he's been beaten to the point he had to be taken to the hospital. then he was beaten at the hospital. then he was taken to the most
dangerous prison you could take a person to in iran. these kinds of activities can't be allowed to continue. you know, how we could be moving forward any kind of talks with the iranians and not ask for such a simple gesture as let this u.s. citizen go, let him come back to the united states, don't kill him in one of your prisons or one of your hospitals as just the first of good-faith effort to have these discussions. i hope the president will step forward along with the secretary of state and talk about these grave abuses of human rights. last year the senate foreign relations committee reported out a bipartisan bill to appoint a special envoy for the purpose of promoting religious freedom among religious minorities in the near east and south asia. the house has already passed this bill.
this continued violence, particularly against christians but against all other religions that governments are in disagreement with, is deeply disturbing, it defies the freedoms that we hold dear. whether people's right -- when people's right to their own religious beliefs are abused, in the middle east, in sudan or anywhere else, the united states of america should be the first country to step up and say we're going to do whatever we can to ensure more religious freedom, and in these particular cases, to ensure that the ibrahim family imprisoned in sudan is able to leave and pastor abadini is able to leave iraq. one other thing i wanted to talk about for just a few minutes, madam president, was the disappointing answer that senator alexander and i got this week from a request we made
several days ago to the -- about a center, a processing center near st. louis where the employees have stepped forward and said basically this was a processing center for the affordable care act, the one group that may not be able to afford the affordable care act among many others, may be the taxpayers because these employees stepped forward and said, we're really not doing anything. the "st. louis post dispatch" reported this morning -- quote -- "whistle-blower allegations last month that claimed workers slept, read or played games at the -- at wencefeld invoked a flurry of questions from missouri's delegation." moving on with their story, continuing to quote from their story, they're citing one of the whistle-blowers who said -- quote -- "we played picksary, we played trivial pursuit and 20
questions. one told the associated press she processed six applications in the entire month of decembe december." c.m.s., while not acknowledging any of these allegations, says that it's adjusted the work to accommodate changing operational needs. that's not a very -- it's sort of a non-answer answer. if we want the government to work more effect actively, the -- more effectively, the government has to be responsive, the government has to be responsive to the congress. you can't -- as a matter of fact, i think i'm going to put this response in the "congressional record" if there's no objection to that. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. johanns: and i think when the details of this letter was looked at, but we had to call them yesterday to see if they were ever going to respond. and they have stamp dated this a few days ago but we certainly
hadn't received anything. i understand the affordable care act's not going the way the administration hoped. that doesn't mean they can continue to pretend that there are applications where there are no afternoon indications or work where there's no work or contracts with companies that haven't performed in other countries. this is a british company, circo, that was already in trouble with the british government for not performing there, which appears to be maybe one of the entry-level considerations to get a $1.25 billion contract here. i'd like to have answers to these questions. i know many in the congress would like to have answers to the questions that they'd like to ask rather than the information that the administration would like to give. i think the entire missouri congressional delegation is interested in this, as are people who are wanting the taxpayers to be protected and people to have access to health
a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from tennessee. mr. alexander: madam president, i snow the senator from texas -- the presiding officer: the senate is in a quorum call. mr. alexander: i ask consent it be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. alexander: the senator from texas is on his way to the floor to talk about awareness for miriamic ra him. he has been regularly joined by senators ayotte, shaheen, and many others who share my deep concern. hundreds of tennesseans have written our office about this. when she was ordered to announce her faith she refused, for that crime the sudanese government condemned her to death. she was convicted to be sentenced to receive a hundred lashes and then hanged. to make matters worse, she was pregnant with her daughter when this happened. the daughter's less than 2 years old, forced to live in the women's prison outside of khartoum where she was held
until yesterday. monday we learned she was to be released but that was the celebration that was short lived. because yesterday she was detained at the airport. president obama and the state department should immediately demand that the sudanese government follow their own court's orders and release miriam and her family. this harassment and targeting of this family should stop immediately. the state department should be prepared to act quickly to help them leave sudan as soon as possible. occasionally, madam president, it is -- we wonder if words spoken on this floor matter. but in this case i believe that they have. this is an outrageous incident that has seared the conscience of americans and people all over the world. i know that in tennessee many families care about it and i want to thank senator cruz as well as senators ayotte and
rubio and inhofe and shaheen and coons, senators on both sides of the aisle who have used this forum, this tribunal, to talk about the case of meriam iprahim and her plight. it is our hope that the attention, the spotlight placed on this matter will help her be released at the airport and that our administration will continue its efforts to register our strong concern. so i'm here today to express the feelings of hundreds of tennesseans but also to congratulate senator cruz and the other senators on both sides of the aisle who have done such an effective job of letting the world know about meriam ibrahim and her plight. i thank the senator and i yield the floor.
a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from texas. mr. cruz: i ask unanimous consent that i be allowed to speak for seven minutes. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. cruz: madam president, i rise today to discuss a heart breaking tragedy that has focused the attention of people across america and people across the world.
i rise today to discuss the plight of miriam. miriam is a young wife and a young mother. mother has two children. she has a son martin who is 20 months old. she has a newborn baby girl maya who was just recently born. now, the birth of a little girl should be a cause for celebration, but i'm sorry to tell you, madam president, that miriam gave birth to maya while in leg irons in a prison in sudan. miriam is married to a u.s. citizen, daniel. her two children are american citizens. why was miriam in leg irons in a prison cell in sudan? she was there because the government of sudan has sentenced her to receive 100 lashes and to hang by the neck until dead for the crime of
being a christian. that is miriam's only crime in sudan, and for that crime she was sentenced to be tortured and executed. miriam was told by the government of sudan that if she would merely renounce jesus christ, she would be spared that horrible sentence, but miriam told her captors that she would not and could not renounce christ. all of us value the religious liberty that is protected here in america, that is precious to each and every one of us, and i would venture very few, if any, of us have been tested in our faith the way miriam has. now, two days ago, we had cause for celebration. two days ago, the government of sudan responding to the international outcry that this young wife and mother would be tortured and murdered for being a christian, they released
miriam two days ago. there were many prayers of thanksgiving two days ago. yet, madam president, i'm very sorry to tell you that yesterday, while miriam was at the airport preparing to leave and come to america with her husband and her two little babies, armed thugs came to the airport and seized miriam. she is back in a prison in sudan. this is wrong, this is an outrage. this calls for prayers across this country, and this calls for u.s. leadership. i would humbly call upon president obama to speak out for miriam. there is no one who has a bully pulpit like the president of the united states. this is a case that cries for presidential leadership. her husband is an american from new hampshire. her babies are americans. and this is a grotesque example
of religious persecution. and i would note, madam president, that this should not be a cause for partisan division. indeed, in this chamber, i am pleased to have joined with senator shaheen, a democrat from new hampshire, and senator ayotte, a republican from new hampshire, in legislation that would provide immediate relief for miriam to allow her to come to america. it is my hope this body can operate quickly in a bipartisan, in a unanimous manner to act on that legislation so we can stand together. i am encouraged that so many of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle have stood up and fought for miriam. we need to speak with one uniform voice, and i hope in particular, i would urge in particular president obama to stand up and add his clear voice to say to the government of
sudan free miriam ibrahim. i would ask everyone watching this to lift her up in your prayers and to speak out. sudan two days ago responded to the international pressure and released her. now that they have apparently had a change of heart and forcibly captured her, we need to speak even louder. we need to speak out for miriam ibrahim because it is wrong for everyone, especially this young wife and mother, to be subject to torture and murder for being a christian. that is unequivocally wrong, and we need to speak in one voice on that. thank you, madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from washington.
ms. cantwell: i have 14 unanimous consent requests for the committees to meet during today's session of the senate. they have the approval of the majority and minority leaders. i ask unanimous consent that these requests be agreed to and these requests be printed in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. cantwell: madam president, i come to the floor today to talk about the export-import bank, the program that is a vital tool of u.s. manufacturers and small businesses across the united states of america to help them grow jobs and gain access to international be markets. there has been a lot written in the last 24, 48 hours about this because there has been a lot of discussion about people who have previously supported the program, maybe voted for it five or six times and now all of a sudden have either amnesia or have forgotten what's so important about this program, and i'm here this morning to talk about this because i believe it is so vital to the
u.s. economy and to the economic opportunities and challenges we face. the export-import bank basically gives assistance in the forms of securitizing loans that are sought by the private sector when a u.s. company tries to sell a product overseas. you can imagine that if you are a u.s. manufacturer and you could be involved in lots of different things in our state, there is everything from aviation to grain silos to music stands to agricultural products, and when you go and say okay, they want to tell to ethiopia or they want to sell to a south american country or they want to sell to an asian country so this small business person in the state of washington says okay, i have found a customer in one of those countries for my product, grain silos. i will just use that as an example because there is a company in our state that now
sells grain silos to 82 different countries around the globe. that customer in that country says well, you know, how am i going to finance this deal? it's not exactly like the sophistication is present in every one of these developing countries, and yet we want u.s. products to be sold into these developing countries. i mean, i guess we could sit back on our laurels and just think that it's all going to happen on its own and let the europeans sell into that market or let the chinese sell products into the market, or we could hustle which is what the united states of america does, and we can figure out a way to secure those deals when those customers have a challenge of financing within their country. now, it doesn't mean that the export-import bank finances all of those deals. it means that it provides in a lot of cases security so that when a private bank does finance the sale of that deal, there is certainty and predictability.
now, why is that important? well, as one the president of a bank told us that operates in 19 different states in the district of columbia, they said that -- quote -- most banks, even those as large as in this case p.n.c. can't alone take risks for helping a u.s. company sell in countries with governments that may be less stable than the united states of america. it makes sense, right? look at what we are seeing around the globe. we are seeing lots of change. you can't count on a deal and account for the capricious nature of governments, so if someone stiffs me in pittsburgh, i will just go to a court in pittsburgh and win a judgment against these individuals. well, you can't prabt cally expand that to a government in africa or asia. you can't go to a court system here in the united states and say hey, that government failed to pay on that particular
customer deal that was enacted. but you can with the help of the export-import bank secure those loans and make sure that payment is received, and that's why so many small businesses across the state of washington like and have used this program in conjunction with the private banking industry. for example, there is a company, manhassett music stands. i love that company because it makes music stands somewhat like this podium i am speaking in front of that is used for placement of music, and they sell all over the globe. in fact, china is some of their best customers. i love that there is a place in yakima, washington, that is figuring out how to sell a u.s.-manufactured product in china and that they are continuing to compete with the chinese every day and winning that battle. and i'm so proud that that company uses the export-import bank to reduce their risk to those customers because those
customers live in a place where the banking and security might not be there. now, why is this so important? well, first of all, 95% of consumers in the world live outside of the united states of america. so unless we just want to sell to people in the united states of america, we better have a pretty good strategy of how we're going to sell to people outside the united states of america. so with 95% of consumers outside of the united states of america and a rising middle class around the globe. the middle class is going to double in the next 20 years. they are going to double. that means more people with more disposable income to buy products and to use services that are so critical. take aviation, for example. because there is a rising middle class around the globe and a lot more people want to travel, that's 35,000 new airplanes that are in demand. that's how many we're going to have to build over the next 20 years. 25,000 new airplanes. well, that could be really good
news for the united states of america and u.s. manufacturing because those are great middle-class manufacturing jobs. but guess what? those jobs are not secure. the brazillians want to build airplanes, the europeans already build airplanes, the chinese want to build airplanes, and they are all competing for that rising middle-class market that is demanding new airplanes. they all want to get on the action of having manufacturing jobs in their state. so we need to make sure that we implement the export-import bank which is about to expire on september 30 of this year. without the export-import bank, we are going to be hobbling businesses across the united states of america and not giving them these tools. the export-import bank has created thousands of jobs in the united states of america, and it has increased exports b